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What Is a Medical Marijuana Dispensary Pharmacist?

  • Since marijuana is federally illegal, you technically can’t receive a prescription for medical marijuana. But that doesn’t mean you can’t meet with a medical marijuana dispensary pharmacist to discuss your treatment plan.
  • These pharmacists work in dispensaries (or pharmacies, in Louisiana’s case)—stores where you purchase medical marijuana. They answer your medical marijuana-related questions, suggest certain products, and offer dosing guidance based on your unique healing goals.
  • You can prepare for your first visit by familiarizing yourself with your options and writing down specific questions to ask.

Medical marijuana is a unique medication in more ways than one. It paves a non-addictive, holistic path to healing that traditional Western medicine can’t provide. It can’t be prescribed like traditional medicine, either.

Because marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, doctors can only recommend it to you as a treatment option, even if your state has legalized marijuana for medical and/or recreational use.

Though you can’t obtain a traditional prescription for weed, medical marijuana dispensary pharmacists have all the weed wisdom you need and more.

In this article, we’ll give you the full rundown on dispensary pharmacists: who they are, how to connect with them (both in-person and through virtual services like TeleLeaf), and how they can help you find effective relief, faster.

Recreational vs. Medical Marijuana Dispensaries: What’s the Difference?

Medical Marijuana vs Adult Use Marijuana - Featured BannerThere aren’t any physical differences between the recreational weed you buy at a dispensary and medical marijuana. What differs is where and how you can obtain it.

Whether or not adult-use (recreational) marijuana is legal in your state, you’ll always purchase medical marijuana from a licensed dispensary. Louisiana is the exception: they have pharmacies dedicated to filling medical marijuana needs.

In states where both types are legal, you may find medical marijuana dispensaries as well as dispensaries that sell both, featuring a recreational “side” and a medical “side.”

In order to access the medical side—and medical marijuana dispensaries in general—you need a medical card.

The Benefits of Having a Medical Marijuana Card

If you live in a state where recreational weed is legal, and there’s no true difference between recreational and medical marijuana, why should you apply for a medical card?

Medical marijuana cardholders receive certain perks and medical guidance that recreational users don’t have access to. If you have a medical card, you can often:

  • Gain access to a wider variety of marijuana products
  • Qualify for special deals and discounts at dispensaries
  • Avoid state marijuana sales taxes (either reduced rates or full exemption)

Applying for a card in-person requires travel and inconvenient scheduling, and depending on your current situation, it might be a time-consuming hassle.

TeleLeaf removes these barriers by connecting you with certified medical professionals from the comfort and privacy of your own home. Simply make an appointment online, meet with your doctor via video call, and get approved in minutes. You can even make same-day appointments.

With TeleLeaf, you can obtain your medical marijuana card on your terms.

“Budtenders” vs. Medical Marijuana Pharmacists

All dispensaries have knowledgeable staff available to answer your cannabis-related questions, but only some of them are licensed medical marijuana pharmacists.

At recreational dispensaries, you’re usually greeted by someone called a “budtender.” (Get it?)

Many dispensaries require their budtenders to complete a cannabis certification course, so you can be sure that any budtender you talk to is well-versed in all things weed, including:

  • What effects each product produces
  • The best products to use for your desired results
  • Potential side effects of certain products
  • State and federal cannabis laws

Dispensary pharmacists, on the other hand, will have a doctoral degree in pharmacy from an accredited program. Combined with the time it takes to complete a bachelor’s degree, that adds up to about eight years of schooling. Pharmacists must also be licensed to practice in their state, and will often complete internships or specific cannabis training before joining a dispensary.

So, while budtenders definitely know their stuff, medical marijuana pharmacists are specifically trained to handle medical-related questions and suggestions.

You can easily find out if your local dispensary has a pharmacist on staff by calling or checking their website.

How Medical Marijuana Dispensary Pharmacists Help You

Medical marijuana dispensary pharmacists have one essential job: guiding you on your holistic healing journey.

Dispensary pharmacists can give you individualized insight on a broad range of medical marijuana topics, including:

  • The best products to use to achieve your unique health goals
  • The proper doses and dose timing for the best results
  • How to minimize any unwanted marijuana side effects, like drowsiness or a high

Like with any medical professional, you and your dispensary pharmacist need to build a level of trust. You should feel comfortable speaking to a dispensary pharmacist about the specifics of your qualifying condition so you can get the best care possible. But sometimes, finding the right match requires some trial and error.

Fortunately, TeleLeaf has vetted medical marijuana pharmacists for you.

We connect you to state-licensed pharmacists practicing in multiple Louisiana dispensary locations. They’ll help you draft a practical treatment plan that meets all your needs—and your budget.

And if you remember that one question you meant to ask at the dispensary just as you’re taking off your shoes at home, you can easily message the TeleLeaf team for fast and reliable information.

What to Do Before Your Dispensary Visit

If you’re stepping into a medical marijuana dispensary for the first time, it’s helpful to have a working idea of what you need, and what’s available to you.

Familiarize yourself with the different types of medical cannabis your pharmacist may suggest to you. Here are some of the most common:

  • THC products – These products contain high amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the main components of cannabis that relieves pain, soothes nausea, and produces a psychoactive “high.”
  • CBD products – Cannabidiol (CBD) is another main component of cannabis, but unlike THC, it doesn’t get you high. CBD products are also used for pain relief, as well as for anxiety and other mental health conditions.
  • Full-spectrum products – These products contain the full spectrum of cannabis compounds, including cannabinoids like THC, CBD, and others, in addition to terpenes and flavonoids. The overlapping interactions of these compounds are said to create an enhanced therapeutic result, known as the “entourage effect.”

You should also consider what cannabis consumption or application methods you may prefer. Cannabis can be inhaled as smoke or vapor, ingested as food or candy, and even topically applied as a lotion or oil.

If you don’t have a strong preference or aren’t sure what would benefit you most, that can be a question you ask your dispensary pharmacist.

For a little extra guidance, here are some specific questions you can ask a dispensary pharmacist when you meet with them:

  1. What does this product make users feel? How long do the effects typically last?
  2. I don’t enjoy smoking or the feeling of being high. What marijuana products can I try?
  3. I take other medications. What marijuana products should I use to avoid any negative interactions?
  4. What are tolerance breaks? Should I schedule them into my medical marijuana use regimen?
  5. What other healing strategies can I combine with my medical marijuana use for an even more holistic treatment plan?

Having questions prepared will save you time at the dispensary and ensure you’re receiving the most individualized and highest-quality care. And remember: always follow up if you have more.

Connect with Experienced Medical Marijuana Pharmacists through TeleLeaf

After you obtain a medical marijuana recommendation from one of TeleLeaf’s certified medical professionals, you’re free to visit any Louisiana dispensary locations statewide and purchase medical marijuana products.

We don’t send you on your way without answering all your questions first, though. Our medical marijuana pharmacists and providers can offer you specific, actionable advice on the best products and doses you need to manage your condition.

Once a patient, always a patient. At TeleLeaf, you’ll always have access to compassionate support from our doctors, pharmacists, and care team members, no matter where you are.

Reach out to us today to learn more about the life-changing services we provide. Our Patient Support Center is open 12 hours a day, six days a week.


Wolters Kluwer. State by state sales tax on cannabis.

Cannabis Education Center. How to Become a Budtender.

International Society of Cannabis Pharmacists. How to Become a Cannabis Pharmacist in the United States.

Open Access Government. What is the ‘entourage effect’ of cannabis and how can it relieve pain?

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